GATLIN O’Donkor set Oxford United on the way to a penalty shoot-out win over Forest Green Rovers on the day he made history.

The substitute scored the first spot kick on the evening he became the U’s youngest-ever player at 16 years and 55 days old, as his side won their Papa John’s Trophy second round tie on penalties.

Simon Eastwood saved from Scott Wagstaff and Udoka Godwin-Malife hit the crossbar, while Sean Clare, Mide Shodipo and John Mousinho scored for United.

Odin Bailey’s header had put the Sky Bet League Two side ahead on the stroke of half-time, but Shodipo restored parity with a fine solo effort.

Jordan Obita was the only man to keep his place from Saturday’s draw with Hull City, although Karl Robinson moved the ex-Reading player to left back.

Jamie Hanson started his first game for 15 months in the holding role, while Simon Eastwood and Mark Sykes returned to the side.

Plenty of United players had a point to prove and the hosts started quickly, with Rob Hall striking the outside of Luke McGee’s post with a free-kick in the opening minute.

United were in control and a flowing move ended with Sykes cutting the ball back for Mide Shodipo, with the winger’s half-volley flying just over the bar.

Hanson then had a shot blocked after creating space for himself inside the area, but Forest Green were themselves not afraid to get the ball down and play.

Jamille Matt headed a corner wide midway through the half, moments before McGee saved from Shodipo one-on-one in United’s last clear chance of the first period.

The hosts had lost their fluency, although Forest Green suffered a setback of their own when the injured Jordan Moore-Taylor was replaced by Dominic Bernard six minutes before the break. 

Seconds later visiting captain Carl Winchester fired a warning shot when he miscued an effort wide from inside the area, but the visitors did not waste their next chance.

As the fourth official signalled for two added minutes, Bailey rose unmarked in the area to head home a cross from Nicky Cadden, brother of ex-U’s man Chris.

The same player could have doubled the lead shortly after the break as he advanced following Hanson’s slip, but his shot sailed into the car park.

Forest Green had started the second half on the front foot and Robinson made his first change just after the hour, with Leon Chambers-Parillon replacing Obita for his Kassam Stadium debut.

Whether it was due to the substitution or not, within 60 seconds United were level.

Shodipo received the ball on the left flank and outpaced his man to advance into the box, before finishing into McGee’s far corner.

The goal energised the U’s and moments later Dan Agyei saw a deflected effort roll agonisingly wide of the far post.

Robinson took the opportunity to have a look at Chambers-Parillon in midfield, while Sean Clare and Anthony Forde moved to the left and right back slots respectively.

The U’s boss threw on Derick Osei and O’Donkor, but it was almost Chambers-Parillon who provided the fairytale ending as his rasping shot struck the top of the bar.

Neither side could win it in normal time, but the U's were ruthless from the spot.

Oxford United (4-3-3): Eastwood, Clare, Mousinho, Jones, Obita (Chambers-Parillon 63), Forde, Hanson (Osei 81), Sykes, Hall, Agyei (O’Donkor 85), Shodipo.

Unused subs: Stevens, Long, Kelly.

Forest Green Rovers (3-4-1-2): McGee, Godwin-Malife, Sweeney, Moore-Taylor (Bernard 39), Wilson (Wagstaff 68), Winchester, Adams, Cadden, Winchester, Bailey, Stevens, Matt (Collins 76).

Unused subs: Carter, Bell, Whitehouse, Thomas.

Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey) Attendance: 1,036.